• Potential Solutions to Communications During Plasmasonic Flight

      Jones, Charles H.; Air Force Flight Test Center (International Foundation for Telemetering, 2009-10)
      At about Mach number 10 and above, a high energy plasma field forms around a vehicle. This plasma sheath has a high attenuation factor that can cause communications black out. No practical solutions to communicating through a plasma sheath are known. In addition to standard real time data needs for test, a driving requirement to solve this problem is that most solutions will have to be designed into the vehicle. Modifications of vehicles designed to travel at these Mach numbers, especially any exterior modifications, will be extremely difficult due to effects on aerodynamics, thermal protection, and the materials used. A list of possible solutions to communications through hypersonically induced plasma has been collected over several years. This list was added to and verified during the Workshop on Communications through Plasma during Hypersonic Flight. Pros and cons of these potential solutions have been discussed and documented as well. The workshop also included a vote by the attending experts on what solutions are most promising. This paper reviews these solutions, their pros and cons, and a recommended way forward to solving this problem.